Read the book(s)

by Yome NetSan 28. August 2016

This summer has been a quiet one. I haven't got the chance to start listening to Phish's tour before it ended neither the several vinyl records I bought since April. But I've read quite a lot and some of the books I dove into have been related to our band.

 

Fare Thee Well

After finally buying the huge Fare Thee Well 12 CD / 7 BluRay "Complete" box (still missing the Santa Clara shows, where the lyrics "Fare Thee Well" have been sung), I added to my shelves the accompagning book.

It's a beautiful coffee-table kind of book with a lot of beautiful pictures. Seriously, the production of the concerts and the talent of the photographers have done wonders. I received it in the morning of the day I flew to my vacation in Morocco, so I have left to dive deeper in those lights.

 

This has all been wonderful

 

I also bought a book I've been willing to read for a long time : David ''Zzyzx'' Steinberg's "This has all been wonderful". Everybody know for sure Zzyzx's website for Phish statistics but not as many know that the guy wrote a book about his summer 1994 tour, "the year Phish became Phish".

The book isn't very long but I haven't begun it yet. I hope it will immerge me in the 94 scene with description of the lot and the fans more than the actual music. We'll see...

 

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A Live One (33 1/3)

I've been intrigued by this book since it came out last september. It's part of the 33 1/3 series of Bloomsbury Publishing where each book focuses on a particular record. The series counts more than a hundred books and I already ordered several more like Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, Michael Jackson's Dangerous and, more surprising, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack.

A Live One is written by Walter Holland, a long time Phish fan. It explores each track of the double album with some thoughts about the history of the band and the evolution of their sound. It's sometimes quite complicated to read because of the technical and musical notions involved, especially for a non native english speaking person like me. But it's very well written and interresting. It can open up a new way to listen to a jam and it certainly pushed me to listen to this great live album once again.

 

The Phish Companion (Third Edition)

But if there must be only ONE book to read (except for the Helping Friendly one of course) it's The Phish Companion.

I have the first and second editions for years and I've been waiting for this one for a long time. It has been actually announced and available to pre-order more than three years ago. But the book have been completly re-worked and it's been released independently by the Mockingbird Foundation in June 2016. 

The biggest modification is the organization of the book. Where the first two had several sections (setlists, songs, interviews...), this new version compiles everything chronologicaly from 1983 to 2016. Histories of each song are sprinkled after the show it appeared first. It can be puzzling at first but it's finally the best way to read the book very naturally, from start to finish. There is still an index at the end of the book to find directly the history of the song you want.

It's sold at 39$ on the official website (phishcompanion.com) but the international shipping are way too expensive. The only thing that I miss from getting the book directly from the Mockingbird Foundation is the rad package with written in big letters "READ THE BOOK" (as seen on Holger's pictures). It has then been available on Dry Goods and then Amazon some time later at 49$ (the retail price) with varied shipping fees. That's why I received it in the same parcel as Fare Thee Well right before leaving to Morocco. But unlike the other book, I find a blank space for it in my luggage !

I read it avidly during my holidays and it's a hell of a good read. Pictures are in full colors and the printing is beautiful. In the end, the two past edition avidly s look very amateur-ish in comparaison. Each fan should really get their hands on a copy.

A few days before I left, phish.net announced a contest where you had to take a picture of the book in a remote place or with a nice setting and post it on the Internet with the hashtag #ReadTheBook. That's the kind of challenge that I like, without thinking of winning, just to have fun.

I started taking pictures of the companion on the beach. Ok, they aren't very creative, even if you see the "Sand" history on the page... So I've posted only the first one.

I wanted a picture of me reading it in the ocean, on my bodyboard. With the help of my wife, we took several photos and I had a hard time choosing the one I would send

The funny thing is that I opened the book at random to pose for the picture and find myself on the page of "Wading in the Velvet Sea"...

Then my wife took the rein with some good ideas.

The first one was having my shadow reading the book in the sand. A clever idea but not really fulfilled in the end.
The second one was more elaborated and needed some settings. The idea was to dry the book like a T-shirt and a wetsuit with a surf board in the background. I like that one a lot but after posting it on Twitter, I realized the book wasn't clearly visible after all.

While up on the roof of the house for the previous photo, I took some more with the landscape of roofs in the background. I posted the one with the tree but not the other one because I didn't like the light, even if you can see the ocean in the distance.

And then there's a last one I took very quickly without really thinking of it, one day before leaving the beach. We were sun bathing and reading right next to this life buoy but I only thought of using it in a photo at the last moment.

I was about to publish this article yesterday when I've received a message from Phillip Zerbo, editor of the Phish Companion. And guess what ? I won third place in the contest with this one !! I later saw in the phish.net post the other winners' great photos. Happy ending !

 

Anyway, I hope your summer has been full of fun, music and good reading too ! We'll see us on a webcast one of this day ?

 

Reviews from Ireland

by Daniel 15. August 2016

Here comes a new challenger !

 
As an ardent reader and fellow European phan, I noticed that there hasn't been much content posted as of late and I offered to post some stuff, keep the train rolling.
 
I'm a phan from Waterford in the south east in Ireland and I got into Phish early 2014 from an offhand mention from an online music critic, which fascinated me, so I listened to the PYITE/Sloth opener from the NYE '95 show. It completely blew me away and was simply the greatest music I had ever heard. Since then, I've been completely hooked, buying every Phish CD, vinyl, shirt, hoodie and webcast I can afford.
 
Sadly I haven't been to a gig yet. I was going to go to MagnaBall, but I had to refund my tix because my ride couldn't get off work. I was especially annoyed that I couldn't go when I watched the webcasts, that Gin was just brilliant, and the Drive In Jam was incredible. I tried going to Dick's this year, but again plans fell through and I had to sell the tickets.
 
This year, I've done reviews of most shows since The Gorge in the comment sections of Phish.net for their respective shows and here are those of the first two San Francisco ones...
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18th July 2016 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Night 1 :

 
First Set :
A Martian Monster opener, a beautiful and serene Roggae jam, an above average Divided Sky and a Ya Mar with a it's-getting-old-fast-and-accomplishing-nothing-at-all-so-please-stop-it-Phish rotation jam.

Second Set :
Golden Age kicked things off and got off to a good start, with great and melodic playing to Trey, not too unlike the fantastic Lakeview Simple, but more anthemic, freewheeling and joyous, then skidding into Type II territory with nervy Rhodes work by Page and Fishman speeding up the tempo a bit to complement it,. 

After some great Trey and Mike interplay, Trey started laying down some tension with Page manning the grand; going from twinkling to laying down the chord structure, then Trey kept things tension-filled with some machine gun work, before the jam quickly fizzled out before heading into an unusually short Twist, then My Sweet One and then, the Line (DEAR GOD NOOOOOOO).

The thing is, I actually like the Line, the studio version that is, but when performed live with it's harmonies sounding like a choir of teenager's voices crackling, thus losing much of it's power. But most of all, it is the harbinger of Le Fourth Quarter, and Simple following didn't seem to be much of a savior either, despite the fact that the aforementioned Lakeview version was fantastic, and this one did feature some nice Trey and Page interplay, but then...

Sneakin' Sally kicked in the door, and it's jam section began like my beloved 12/30/15 Gin, with the band members scatting along to a steady Fish beat, before beginning the jam section with great funky Trey and Page interplay, before Trey hits on a melodic riff, then Fish goes over to the ride cymbal, loosening up the jam, with Trey slowly shredding alongside him, with Page providing the tarmac for him to shred on. 

It seems that Trey is heading for a finish line before he brings himself back before sprinting at 100MPH towards a glorious peak, before going at it again like the Worcester Boogie On, before cooling down and then, with Fish picking up the tempo and Page twinkling on the grand, Trey heads back into tension land under a psychedelic sky painted by Page's grand work and his own effects, before Fish speeds up the tempo even more, and Trey begins going for an astronomical peak, before heading up the fretboard for some quiet and fast soloing.

Then Fish speeds up the tempo to a ridiculous speed, and Trey gets more forceful and frantic before going for the peak in earnest and then he just shreds it, and it's just so over the top and glorious, before heading back to earth and regular tempo to finish off Sally. 

I really need to use full stops more, eh?

Anyway, after that whiplash-inducing awesomeness, it's Limb by Limb with a brief discordant jam which then turns melodic before Slave creeps in beautifully. This version is a little slower than most, and a little more quiet and unassuming, before it explods in the almost parody-level of grandeur like most Slave's do, and overall is a good version.

For the encore, it's When the Circus comes to Town and Antelope.

And uh... that's that.

Overall : 
The best show of the tour so far, especially in terms of consistency. It's a captivating listen and can't wait to see what other fruits the BGCA run bares.

Highlights :
Roggae, Golden Age and Sneaking Sally through the Alley (if Satan himself offers an SBD of the latter for your first born child, TAKE IT YOU HEATHEN)

P.S.
For the love of god and for the millionth time, turn Mike up on the SBD!!!
 
 
 

19th July 2016 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium NIGHT 2 :

 
First Set :
Chalkdust Opener, a Wombat bustout, a fine knotty and nervy Melt and the return of Breath and Burning, a song I once loathed but now, I can't wait to hear the studio version of it. The third appearance of Space Oddity ended the set, and it's cool that they're playing that a bit more, and if anyone complains, ya mutha.

Second Set :
Down with Disease kicked things off, and began in the usual Type-1 circa 1995 , and Page's organ work things up even further and keeps the blood flow seemingly speeding towards the usual peak before Trey starts wailing.Then they build up and Trey starts firing away before heading into full on tension territory, getting quieter but retaining speed and then heading into even spacier territory when page heads over to the Rhodes, when Trey opts to go for a beautiful progression usually reserved for Gin jams. This guitar/ Rhodes texture sounds just fantastic, but they only ride it for a minute as Trey takes control again and Fish tightens the tension, with Page still playing the Rhodes. They continue with this for a minute or two, and then Trey just screams, and the tension is really rising, with Mike dropping bombs before the whole thing melts into space and the effects take hold, and then Page begins the opening piano line to Fuego.

Fuego had a nice melodic jam, and Trey teased the Bug while soloing, and Page just killed it with the organ here. Then Ghost comes in, and after a minute's jamming, starts to turn nasty, with Mike turning on the bass synth and Fish speeding up the tempo. But then Trey goes up the fretboard and starts spinning out beautiful phrases with Page backing him on the grand and Mike laying down an ever present bass line. Then, Fish starts an almost techno-like beat and after some beating around the bush, Trey just begins fucking wailing and Page is hammering on the grand, then moves over to the organ, and the whole thing is just so glorious. Trey is just SCREAMING and it sounds incredible and the whole sonic tapestry is just in line and alive and kicking, then the jam winds down, before heading into Scents and Subtle Sounds, which I'm not even going to comment on because THAT WAS GODDAMN INCREDIBLE. AND IT WAS LESS THAN 11 MINUTES LONG.

After Scents, it's Light, which goes into quiet territory, then the jam turns weird and almost confused before... Manteca! Ah jeez, who doesn't love Manteca, even if it is only ten seconds of crab in my shoemouth. After that, the jam briefly turns dreamy with a few Manteca quotes taboot, and then... it's over. Felt a little premature, but it was still funny as hell to hear Manteca.

Then ''No Quarter" (damn right this is No Quarter) and Fluffhead for good measure, and Bug and First Tube to end it.

Overall : 
HOLY SHIT CRAP THAT GHOST WAS INCREDIBLE OH MY GOD

ahem, anyway, the Ghost tops last night's Sneaking Sally; the best jam of the tour in sheer focus and cathartic release alone, but beyond that? There's Fluffhead, the DwD jam was pretty darn good, there was Space Oddity...

So you could call this a bit of a one trick pony, but even if it may seem like it kind of is, that's one hell of a pony to have. The rest is fun and all, but the Ghost is just a towering storm cloud over the rest of the show, but there's still some very good moments in there besides that behemoth, and the show has excellent flow, arguably the best of the tour.

Also Page and Fish were MVP's here; they both gave jams a right kick up the ass and a hell of a lot more more vigor.

Highlights :
Ghost (I want to hear this when I die)


 

 

 



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